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Hysteria

A memoir of illness, strength and women's stories throughout history

Katerina Bryant

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New South Books
01 September 2020
Biography; Autobiography: literary; History of medicine; Women's health; Coping with illness
When Katerina Bryant suddenly began experiencing chronic seizures, she was plunged into a foreign world of doctors and psychiatrists, who understood her condition as little as she did. Reacting the only way she knew how, she immersed herself in books, reading her way through her own complicated diagnosis and finding a community of women who shared similar experiences.

In the tradition of Siri Hustvedt's The Shaking Woman, Bryant blends memoir with literary and historical analysis to explore women's medical treatment. Hysteria retells the stories of silenced women, from the 'Queen of Hysterics' Blanche Wittmann to Mary Glover's illness termed 'hysterica passio' a panic attack caused by the movement of the uterus - in London in 1602 and more. By centring these stories of women who had no voice in their own diagnosis and treatment, Bryant finds her own voice: powerful, brave and resonant.

'Hysteria is a timely and exciting work, keenly interested in the long history of women being treated - and mistreated - by the medical system, and the ways in which their complicated legacy is still being felt today. At once deeply personal and broadly political, it is a touching and tender examination of what it means to live in a body and with a brain that is aberrant or unwell, and how we might find a shape for our selves and our experiences in these circumstances. Bryant is a careful and intelligent writer, and this is a book that will have a great impact on many people.' - Fiona Wright 'At once devastating, hopeful, comforting and bold. Bryant captures precisely, beautifully what it is to be made uncertain by illness.' - Anna Spargo-Ryan 'Katerina Bryant explores the disorienting and distressing phenomenon previously known - and denigrated - as 'hysteria' with compassion and insight.' - Meera Atkinson
By:   Katerina Bryant
Imprint:   New South Books
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 135mm, 
ISBN:   9781742236773
ISBN 10:   1742236774
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   01 September 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Katerina Bryant is a writer based in South Australia. Her work has appeared in Griffith Review, The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, Southerly, Island Magazine and Voiceworks, amongst others. She has been shortlisted for the 2019 TLB & RMIT non/fiction Lab Prize for Experimental Writing, the 2018 Feminartsy Memoir Prize, and the 2016 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers. She has also been anthologised in the collection Balancing Acts: Women in Sport (Brow Books). She is the inaugural recipient of the 2018 Writers SA Varuna Fellowship for Emerging Writers, and has appeared in various panels and events including the Emerging Writers' Festival and National Young Writers' Festival.

Reviews for Hysteria: A memoir of illness, strength and women's stories throughout history

'Hysteria is a timely and exciting work, keenly interested in the long history of women being treated -- and mistreated -- by the medical system, and the ways in which their complicated legacy is still being felt today. At once deeply personal and broadly political, it is a touching and tender examination of what it means to live in a body and with a brain that is aberrant or unwell, and how we might find a shape for our selves and our experiences in these circumstances. Bryant is a careful and intelligent writer, and this is a book that will have a great impact on many people.' -- Fiona Wright 'At once devastating, hopeful, comforting and bold. Bryant captures precisely, beautifully what it is to be made uncertain by illness.' -- Anna Spargo-Ryan 'Katerina Bryant explores the disorienting and distressing phenomenon previously known -- and denigrated -- as 'hysteria' with compassion and insight.' -- Meera Atkinson


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